As much as we love the Hero, we must too love their counterpart...the Villain.

When we think of classic story Villains, it conjures up the image of the evil and sinister cad, with a black heart beneath his black clothing, taking perverse pleasure in the pain and suffering he can inflict on others. But that image is just a stereotype, focusing more on the personality of the character than its dramatic function.


Equally well known as the Hero is the Villain. And just as the Hero is actually made up of several distinct qualities, so is the Villain. In fact, for every quality the Hero possesses, the Villain embodies a counterpart.

Superheroes have alter egos, or in Latin, "The Other I." It leaves and breathes inside of them. They are strong as the Hero and sometimes stronger as the Villain. "The Other I" can take over their psyche. Without one another, they are weak. They are unbalanced.

breakdown of the villain

So what is it, then, that defines the Villain? No matter what other elements you may wish to include in that definition, there are four key elements that must be present. The Villain must be:

  1. The Antagonist
  2. The Influence Character
  3. The Second Most Central Character
  4. A "Bad Guy"


The Antagonist has but one function - to prevent the Protagonist from achieving the goal. This might be accomplished by defeating the Protagonist, or just by beating him or her to the prize. There doesn't necessarily have to be any hatred involved, or even any emotion at all. The Antagonist might have the greatest respect for the Protagonist, but just not agree with what he is trying to achieve.


The Villainous counterpart to the Hero's quality of being the Main Character is the Influence Character. While the audience or reader sees things from the Main Character's point of view, the Influence Character represents the opposing moral outlook, alternative view, or contrasting paradigm. In short, the crux of the message is argued between the Main Character and the Influence Character.

In this case, the contrasting paradigm is that the Ducks are not seen as superheroes as they would be in front of 59,000 strong at home in Autzen Stadium. Instead, they are seen as villains in enemy territory.


Just as people rubber-neck at auto-accidents, their attention is often drawn to the potential for disaster interjected by the Villain. As a result, it is sometimes difficult to keep a particularly charismatic Villain from stealing the show from the Hero...

...the Ducks are ok with that notion.

4. A "BAD GUY"

Once again, being a Bad Guy doesn't necessarily mean the Villain wallows in the thrill, but simply that it is his or her intent to cause trouble for others or to benefit oneself at the expense of others. There can be an infinite number of reasons, motivations, or excuses for being bad, but the bottom line is not why the Villain does it, or even how he or she feels about it, but simply that this character is "bad."

Going into the game, the Ducks will try to use cunning, surprise attacks to defeat the enemy in its own backyard. Although they are not bad by trait, one can categorize this idea under bad intentions.


The classic story Villain represents an alternative point of view and forces the Main Character to grapple with a moral dilemma. This combination of qualities makes the Villain a formidable foe for the Hero. It also makes him or her truly melodramatic. That is because everything that opposes the Hero centers on this character, and all important counter-dynamics flow from it.

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